INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is denying a
request to remove an Army veteran's body from a Michigan cemetery, where
he was buried with military honors in violation of federal law after
killing an Indianapolis woman last year.
Michael LeShawn Anderson was buried in Fort Custer National Cemetery in
Augusta, Mich., in June 2012 after fatally shooting Alicia Koehl in her
office at an Indianapolis apartment complex. Police say he wounded three
others before taking his own life.
Koehl's family says Anderson shouldn't have received the honors given
other veterans. They want his remains removed from a place meant to honor
"It's just a continuing cover-up so no one has to take accountability for
the (original) mistake," Koehl's father-in-law, Frank Koehl, told The
Indianapolis Star Wednesday after learning of the VA's decision.
Police have said Alicia Koehl was shot 13 times and bled to death in her
Frank Koehl said the VA has the authority but not the willingness to order
the remains exhumed and moved. He cited a 2007 case in which the cremated
remains of a double murderer were removed from Arlington National
Congress passed a federal statute outlawing military burials in national
cemeteries for those who commit capital crimes in 1997. The law was
intended to prevent the body of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, a
military veteran, from being buried in a national cemetery.
VA officials have acknowledged that Anderson's burial in a national
cemetery violates the law but say the agency lacks the authority to exhume
remains in a situation where an ineligible veteran was buried in a
Republican Indiana Sen. Dan Coats said he is working on legislation that
would give the agency that authority.
"The victims and family members of this tragic shooting have suffered
enough and deserve a resolution to this matter," Coats said in a